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Hong Kong status is back

Publication Date : 13-06-2014


The Information Office of the Chinese State Council on Tuesday released a White Paper entitled “The Practice of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Policy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)”.

The lengthy document highlighted how the policy has worked and efforts made by the central government to ensure the prosperity and development of Hong Kong .

It pointed out that the central government haD always placed high priority on Hong Kong’s economic development and improvement of its people’ s livelihood, and given full support to Hong Kong when facing various challenges.

“In December (2008), it introduced 14 policies to ensure economic and financial stability in Hong Kong,” the report read.

“In January 2009, it introduced more policies, including the signing of a 104-billion-ringgit (US$32.42 billion) currency swap agreement by the People’s Bank of China with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

“All these policies played a positive role in boosting confidence, strengthening capability to defuse risks and stimulating the economic recovery of Hong Kong, ” it said.

Besides supporting Hong Kong in finance, trade and shipping, as well as tourism and retail, the White Paper said the central government also facilitated cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland.

In the chapter “Fully and Accurately Understanding and Implementing the Policy of ‘One Country, Two Systems’”, it said the implementation of the policy in Hong Kong haD gained widely recognised success.

“This fully proves that ‘one country, two systems’ is not only the best solution to the Hong Kong question left over from history but also the best institutional arrangement for the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong after its return to the motherland.”

But the White Paper, issued some 10 days ahead of the Occupy Central movement’s unofficial referendum calling for a democratic universal suffrage for the 2017 Hong Kong chief executive election, has drawn protests from some Hong Kongers.

A copy of the White Paper was burned in front of the Central Government’s Liaison Office, while the central government was accused of undermining the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the city’s constitution.

A poll on the South China Morning Post website found that 93% of the respondents believed the release of the document was timed to preempt the Occupy Central referendum.

Occupy Central, short for Occupy Central with Love and Peace, is set to be held at the central business district in Hong Kong on July 1, the day that marks the 17th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.

Tensions stemmed from the White Paper as it was regarded as a declaration that reaffirmed China’s control over Hong Kong.

“China’s central government has omprehensive jurisdiction over all local administrative regions, including the HKSAR,” the document read.

It added that the high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR “is subject to the level of the central leadership’s authorisation”.

It also said some Hong Kongers were still “confused ” in their understanding of the “one country, two systems” policy and the Basic Law.

The White Paper warned of “outside forces” that aimed to use Hong Kong to interfere China’s domestic affairs and said Hong Kong leaders should “above all be patriotic”.

“In a word, loving the country is the basic political requirement for Hong Kong’s administrators.

“If they are not ... loyal to the country and the HKSAR, the practice of ‘one country, two systems’ will deviate from its right direction, making it difficult to uphold the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and putting Hong Kong’s stability and the wellbeing of its people in serious jeopardy.

“The fact that Hong Kong must be governed by patriots is well-grounded in laws.”

This section of the White Paper caused an uproar among pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong as they fear the central government will only allow pro-Beijing allies to be elected as the city’s chief executive.

According to a decision made in 2007, Hong Kong can elect its leader for the first time in 2017 in a universal suffrage.

Currently, the chief executive is elected by a 1,200-m ember committee made up mainly of business representatives and professionals.

An opinion piece on China Central Television’s commentators’ Weibo account described the issuance of the White Paper as timely.

It said “one country” had often been neglected with more emphasis placed on “two systems”, thus  contributing to Hong Kongers’ increasing sense of independence.

Mainlanders, on the other hand, cannot comprehend the central government’s policies that are preferential to Hong Kong.

Therefore, it said there was a need to increase people’s understanding of the “one country, two systems” principle.


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